It is important to recognise that merit selection should not be at the cost, by default, of condoning poor decision-making. The APS must work towards simplifying the structure or process of merit while striving towards the ideal of 'absolute' merit.
The problem facing the APS and for that matter, other state and international public services, is finding an acceptable compromise between the two extremes of absolute merit and pragmatic merit—or in other words—a balance between principle and pressures to cut corners to be more responsive. This balance changes over time and reflects prevailing societal views on the value of public service and the role it plays in delivering services and employment.
Agencies need to 'invest' in recruitment, actively project manage it, clearly identify capability requirements and integrate this with workforce plans.
There are many initiatives already available to agencies, including:
Having open and transparent processes when investing in our people is good decision-making.